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State v. Young

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

February 6, 2015


Assigned on Briefs January 6, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 11-04219 Chris Craft, Judge.

Paul J. Springer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tyler Young.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Jose Francisco Leon, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Roger A. Page, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.



I. Facts

This case stems from the home invasion burglary and attempted robbery of the residence of Valarita Watt and Elijah Robinson on April 4, 2011, in Memphis, Tennessee. During the course of the burglary, appellant was shot and his accomplice was killed. We note that one of the victims, Elijah Robinson, passed away prior to the trial, which began on February 5, 2013.

Valarita Watt testified that on April 4, 2011, she and Elijah Robinson lived in a house on Glenbrook Street in Memphis. That day, she and her stepdaughter were lying in bed watching television while Mr. Robinson was lying down in a room across the hall. She recalled that Mr. Robinson asked her whether she heard noises. She said that at first, she did not hear anything but that later she heard the same noises. Mr. Robinson checked the house to see if anyone had entered. She said that he did not find anyone and that as he returned to his room, he said, "'I hope ain't nobody in here, and if they is, I'm . . . back here.'" Ms. Watt testified that eight to fifteen seconds later, a gunman stepped into her room and said, "'Shut up, [expletive].'" She said the gun was black. She threw the bed covers over her head, pushed the child to the back of the bed, and yelled to Mr. Robinson that the man had a gun. Ms. Watt said that after this statement, she heard "total shooting." She then heard someone screaming, "'Don't kill me, 'E.' 'E, ' please don't kill me.'" Ms. Watt explained that Mr. Robinson was known as "E." She said that she turned on the lights and saw Mr. Robinson standing in the middle of the room, saw one man "in [her] floor jumping, deceasing, and one guy in the corner, shot in the arm, screaming, 'Don't kill me.'" Ms. Watt identified appellant in the courtroom as the injured man. She said that when Mr. Robinson saw appellant, he asked, "'Tyler, did you try to rob me and my family?'"

Ms. Watt testified that Mr. Robinson checked the house for more intruders but that the two men in her room were the only "unwanted people" in the house. She said that neither man had permission to be in her house. Ms. Watt testified that Mr. Robinson owned a weapon at the time but that it was not a .45 caliber pistol. She said that she learned that the men entered through a window in what she called their exercise room. The window was broken and raised. Ms. Watt identified Mr. Robinson's gun, and the assistant district attorney general showed her a second gun that she had never seen before trial. Ms. Watt testified that the incident was terrifying and that after the incident she was unable to sleep, even after she moved out of the house where the incident occurred.

On cross-examination, Ms. Watt testified that appellant was not the man who entered her room with the gun. Ms. Watt identified pictures of Mr. Robinson's gun in a drawer and a gun under her television cabinet. She testified that the gun under the cabinet was not Mr. Robinson's. Ms. Watt agreed that they had marijuana in the house for personal consumption, but she testified that Mr. Robinson did not sell marijuana.[1]

Memphis Police Officer David Tisdell testified that he was the first police officer to respond to Glenbrook Street. He said that Mr. Robinson met him at the door and explained that two men had broken into his house. Mr. Robinson told him that he had shot both men and gave him the location of the men within the house. Ms. Watt and the child were already outside. Officer Tisdell said that he located the two men, one of whom was unresponsive. He testified that appellant was the second injured man and that appellant advised him that he had been shot in the shoulder. Officer Tisdell assisted appellant in standing and took him outside, where another officer took custody of appellant. Officer Tisdell said that paramedics took appellant to the Regional Medical Center. Officer Tisdell testified that he saw one handgun in the residence - a pistol located in a kitchen drawer to which he was directed by Mr. Robinson.

Paramedic and firefighter Christopher Coleman testified that he responded to the Glenbrook Street address on April 4, 2011. He determined that one of the suspects was deceased. He treated the other suspect for a single gunshot wound to the right shoulder. He also transported the suspect to the Regional Medical Center.

Memphis Police Sergeant Alvin Moore testified that he met appellant at the Regional Medical Center. He took biographical information from appellant and took pictures of his injury.

Memphis Police Officer Marcus Mosby testified that he collected two firearms from the Glenbrook Street residence, one was a .40 caliber and the other was a .45 caliber Ruger. He said that he located the .45 caliber Ruger under a television cabinet and that he was not able to see the weapon until the medical examiner moved the deceased suspect's body. The other weapon was collected from a kitchen drawer. Officer Mosby testified that he also collected six spent .40 caliber rounds and a magazine containing four live .40 caliber rounds.

On cross-examination, Officer Mosby agreed that the .45 caliber weapon was loaded with a round in the ...

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